ISLAMABAD: As the government has delayed the implementation of the country’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy, importers of electric vehicles have now started releasing their vehicles after paying full duty in order to avoid demurrage charges at ports.
According to sources, the Ministry of Industries (MoI) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which were supposed to make the draft ordinance or finance bill to introduce duty exemptions for electric vehicles, could not finalise the draft on time due to various reasons.
As per an MoI official, the ministry wanted to make a single finance bill which could include tax exemptions under EV Policy as well new taxes imposed on first resale of new vehicles and some other amendments in the tax structure approved by the relevant forums and cabinet.
Apart from these, a “lending issue” of the State Bank was also causing a delay in finalising the draft bill, he added.
“We are in process of making the finance bill but in case the government wants to implement the new tax exemptions early, a presidential ordinance may be issued to address the issue,” he said.
Earlier, a customs official had claimed that the draft EV ordinance was resubmitted to the MoI for a review before forwarding the same to the President House for issuance of an ordinance.
Meanwhile, foreseeing the delay in the implementation on the EV policy, importers who had imported EV cars to avail the duty exemption under the policy and were waiting for implementation on it, have now started releasing their vehicles from ports as they could not bear more demurrages.
An importer told this scribe that they were being forced to pay full duty on EV cars as they could not wait anymore to avail the facility. Importers were earlier reluctant to have the cars cleared at ports as they wanted to avail tax exemptions applicable on Completely Knocked Down (CKD) and Completely Built Units (CBUs) under the EV policy, he added.
“Dozens of imported electric vehicles were stuck at ports, as importers wanted to avail the EV policy approved by the cabinet over a month ago.”
Sources said apart from tax exemptions for manufacturers/assemblers of electric vehicles, the incentives announced under the policy were encouraging the importers to import vehicles despite lack of charging stations and other facilities necessary for such vehicles.
As per the EV policy for four wheelers, which was approved by the federal cabinet on December 22, 2020, there will be 25pc customs duty and zero per cent additional customs duty or regulatory duty on CBU imports. Besides, any company could import 100 CBUs with 50pc customs duty.